Detroit members of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network now plan to pressure General Motors to cut ties with musician Kid Rock over his use of the Confederate flag at concerts, and the company is hearing them out.
Legally named Robert James Ritchie, Kid Rock may hail from the Detroit, MI area, but his love for southern music and culture is strong, and he has used imagery of the rebel symbol at shows throughout his career.
Members of the Detroit chapter of the NAN began protesting a Kid Rock exhibit at a local museum over the matter earlier this month. The rocker finally responded to the activists through a statement to Fox News host Megyn Kelly last week, simply saying: “Kiss my a**.”
The group’s members demanded Ritchie renounce the flag, but now that it has become apparent he has no plans to do so, the NAN plans to hit him where it hurts: though a sponsor.
According to the Detroit Free Press, members of the group, which is helmed by Rev. Charles Williams II, plan to meet with Detroit-based General Motors, whose Chevrolet brand is sponsoring Kid Rock’s summer tour.
“We will be furthering our call to ask GM to remove their support of funds for Kid Rock’s tour,” said Williams.
A statement released to the paper by GM confirmed the meeting would take place later this week on Tuesday:
“We have been in touch with Reverend Williams, and representatives from Chevrolet will be meeting with him later this week to better understand his concerns. We need to let some open and constructive dialogue occur as a first step, and we’ll go from there.”
Rev. Williams also told the Associated Press Tuesday that “the best resolution is for GM to pull their sponsorship.”
He added: “The entire civil rights community is ready to open up a campaign on this issue if General Motors doesn’t want to take responsibility on this bad business issue.”
Williams was previously quoted as saying, “the hometown hero who is a zero with the Confederate flag,” while the group’s political director Sam Riddle asked, “How in the hell can Kid Rock represent Detroit and wave that flag just generating millions and millions in ticket sales — a flag that represents genocide to most of Detroit?”
Kid Rock received the Great Expectations Award from the Detroit NAACP in 2011, and called the accolade “by far the coolest award I’ve received.”
After receiving the honor, the artist responded to similar protests from the NAACP, and told the Free Press waving the flag was “not about hatred or being a racist.”
“I like Southern rock music, and a lot of people died under that flag for beliefs they had, right or wrong,” he said. “But it stands for rebel, and my love of Southern rock.”